Education News

Fort Worth Superintendent Won’t Resign Over Transgender Bathroom Policy

A Fort Worth ISD superintendent said he will not heed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s request for his resignation over the district’s bathroom guidelines for transgender students.

Patrick and Scribner
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, called on Fort Worth Independent School District Superintendent Kent Scribner to resign over the district’s bathroom guidelines for transgender students

*Editor’s note: This story has been updated throughout.

The Fort Worth Independent School District superintendent said Tuesday he will not heed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick‘s request for his resignation over the district’s bathroom guidelines for transgender students, according to a report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 

Patrick on Monday called for Superintendent Kent Scribner to resign over a policy the superintendent announced last month that directs district employees to “acknowledge the gender identity that each student consistently and uniformly asserts,” allowing them to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

“I’m proud of these guidelines,’’ Scribner told the Star-Telegram editorial board Tuesday. “I think they provide educators with the ability to make all students more comfortable and confident in a learning environment.”

Patrick said the policy puts students in danger and Scribner should not have acted without “any discussion with parents, board members, principals, and other community leaders.” 

“Campus safety should be of paramount concern for anyone in his position,” Patrick said in a statement Monday. “Every parent, especially those of young girls, should be outraged.”

When asked about Scribner’s comments, Fort Worth ISD spokesman Clint Bond confirmed the superintendent’s intentions to stay in his post. Bond also provided a statement from the Board President Jacinto “Cinto” Ramos. 

“Rest assured, the safety of ALL children is our highest priority on the Board,” Ramos said in the statement. “We are completely capable of handling this in Fort Worth. We are applying the existing policy to make sure ALL children feel safe at school. We are here to look out for ALL children; not some, not most, but ALL children.”

Patrick’s call for Scribner’s resignation comes during an increasingly tense battle over rights of transgender people across the country. North Carolina and the U.S. Department of Justice sparred over the state’s House Bill 2, which would prohibit people from using public restrooms that do not align with their biological sex. Patrick and other conservative leaders have pledged to pursue a similar law during next year’s legislative session in Texas.

Patrick is holding a press conference in Fort Worth Wednesday ahead of a school board meeting. The bathroom policy is not on the board’s agenda, but is likely to be discussed during a public comment period.

Opponents and supporters of the new guidelines are expected to swamp the meeting; conservative groups have sent emails this week urging concerned parents and citizens to attend.  

Scribner announced the bathroom policy at the school board’s April 19 meeting, where there was no related discussion, according to a Star-Telegram report. The board was not asked to vote on the policy because it is an “administrative guideline,” which is a policy that superintendents can implement without official board approval.

“These new guidelines would threaten the safety and privacy of children in all Fort Worth schools by opening little girl’s bathrooms and locker rooms to boys,” conservative group Texas Values said in a press release Monday urging opponents to attend the board meeting. “Further, the guidelines were not debated, discussed or voted on at any board meetings.”

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2016/05/10/superintendent-wont-resign-over-transgender-bathro/.

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